In this post, we will look at a number of different areas that tech has helped when it comes to individuals.
The first one I am going to talk about is talent identification, there is currently lots of different psychometrics and other assessments on the market which are great for identifying what skills your key performers have but the only issue is that they can be hard to use on very large scale due to the sheer amount of information that needs analysing. If you had to read through 100+ 10 page reports and then at the end of it know enough about each report to spot the talent you're likely to struggle its a huge amount of information to take in and analyse. So that's where we can help using people analytics, by analysing the reports and then mapping all of the information we are able to look and compare large groups with graphs and visualizations this makes spotting talent fast and effective. More Info…
The next area I would like to talk about is measuring performance, this has alway been hard but very important for demonstrating ROI. The key thing to acknowledge is that you need a comparable way to track this. Now if the area you are trying to improve is knowledge based then this is fairly simple as you can test knowledge by simply writing a scored test but when it comes to tracking soft skills or habits I.E less measurable traits this process becomes much harder. One way you can do this is using a tool like Propel a goal tracking and resource software that allows users to gain 360 like feedback on their goals and then comparing this feedback on regular intervals. This gives you measurable ways to track your progress against goals.
The last area I’m going to talk about where technology has affected individual development is the access to resources. It now easier than ever find, share and create resources many of which are very low cost or free. The internet is by far the biggest and easiest to use source of information that has ever existed. There are a number of ways to find resources online, one of my most used is googles advanced search. This allows you to set specific search filters and speeds up finding what you're looking for massively. You can sort by things such as file type or region. To use advanced search simply hit settings on googles home page and you can select it from the options. Another online tool that has large amounts of content is lynda.com which was acquired by LinkedIn. Although it requires a paid subscription you will be able to get you moneys worth and beyond. There are courses on computing, business & design and loads more. It's a great place to pick up a new skill in your own time at your own pace.
Technology has totally changed the business environment over the last decade. It revolutionised the way we do everything whether its accounting software, CRM’s or marketing platforms, technology is inescapable. So what about HR?
In my opinion, the biggest disruption to the industry is not one specific piece of technology but a fundamental change to the way organisation function caused by our adoption of a range of tech. The days where everyone needed to be in the same room to hold a meeting or be in the same room to conduct an interview are gone, now all you need is a laptop or even just a tablet or phone with an internet connection to be able to do everything you used to only be able to do in an office. We now have a business climate that is borderless in many ways.
SO WHAT DOES THIS SHIFT MEAN FOR HR?
I'm not going to go through every single change in detail because that would require a book, not a blog post. I'll break it down into a few categories and go into more detail over the coming weeks so be sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you don't miss anything.
We will take a look at what changes have happened to the day to day of running a business and what that means for your HR team. The main focus will be on the changes in the way teams collaborate despite not being at the same location or even in the same country. I will go through what software can be used to help with certain issues and what to avoid as well as tips on how to use them.
I will go through what new technologies are around to help and the best ways of using tech to improve the way your organisation implements changes and develops. I will introduce some tools that can improve the way this is done as well as the clever tech to get more out of these tools.
The people within your organisation will always be your biggest asset. They are what creates the value without them, there is no organisation. There have been a number of leaps forward in talent development. We’ll look at the full process from identification, planning, implementation and finally monitoring of talent within your organisation.
The last installment in this series will cover how technology has changed every part of the recruitment process. We’ll go through the process step by step to explain how to make the entire process more time and cost effective and still find the perfect candidate.
Today I’m going to talk about the changes to daily operations within your organisation and what this means for your HR team.
The main change by far is how we communicate internally and externally. The ball started rolling with email, the technology that has made the biggest stand alone change to operations. It's because of email and how widely adopted it has become that we have seen a huge shift from doing business in a very personal manner, through face-to-face meetings and phone call etc, to everything being operated over the web. This has enhanced the business climate, there's no doubt about that but it does raise some key HR issues.
SO WHAT ARE THESE ISSUES?
The key point to realise is that communication and language are different things. Language is merely a tool to used to help with communication but by communicating online we lose the facial expressions, eye contact and the body language. This can cause a number of problems for your organisation. People can very easily feel left out of the discussion because they aren't CC’d on a conversation they could add value too. There is a lot more room for misunderstandings whether it be a typo or a bluntly worded email. People can get frustrated at the amount of email clogging up their inboxes that aren't really important.
HOW DO I FIX THIS?
Well, there's a couple of options, firstly why not try a service like Slack opposed to email, this way the conversations are with the entire team and everything is out in the open, this influences how messages are worded and nobody is left out of the conversation. Also, It is important to keep your emails short, concise and professional. This way you don't offend or annoy anyone.
HOW TO IMPROVE THE WAY YOU USE TECH ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS?
Given how widely adopted email is now, there have also been lots of add-on services like email tracking. Email tracking is great for sales staff and managers as they can really see how people interact with their emails and how many are actually opened etc.
These kind of things are really easy to setup and use yourself so I'm going to talk about some of the really interesting tech we are working on.
I personally have a lot of experience working with unstructured data, but what is unstructured data? Well, normal data has a set of metadata which tells the computer what type of information is contained in a file and this allows us to work with the metadata to allow us to do things like search and analytics. What we tend to work on is how to take unstructured data and then perform analytics based on that data. This means we can look at information that is usually very difficult to work with. We can even work with email to find trends in the way your organisation uses them. For instance, you could look at the difference in email rates, email contents or sender locations. From this you could find out what factors lead to one sales team's email sales campaign being more successful than others and what factors were not important, allowing you to make changes so everyone performs better during the next campaign.
Quick Tip - Email tracking works by adding a single white pixel image to an email, when the reader opens the email this has to send a request to your server to load the image and that's how you can tell if an email has really been opened. If you want to stop this from happening then just change your email settings so it won't load photos automatically.
Hi, this week I’m going to look at how the introduction of new technologies is giving HR professionals a toolbox of innovative solutions to problems that many companies face when it comes to organisational performance & development.
There are two key parts to organisational development; identifying a problem or implementing a change. That is in no way an in-depth breakdown but in general, most projects aim to do one or both.
IDENTIFYING A PROBLEM
You may think that this is pretty black and white and in some cases it is, but in many cases the way a problem manifests itself and the root cause of that problem are different. It is important to know how a problem manifests itself as this will often give you a metric, against which you can measure if your changes actually make improvements.
There are lots of ways to find a problem; You can track your company's KPI's, ask your customers about their experience or run an internal survey to gauge how your employees feel. These are all great ways to find out how a problem is manifesting itself but how are you to find out the true cause. There's no right or wrong way to do this it changes in every situation.
An example may be that you have two sales teams covering two very similar territories but one has significantly higher sales than the other. There is no obvious reason for the difference and the only thing that’s different is the people in those two teams. This is where you can use a combination of personality and ability tools to find out what the differences between the two teams are. We are able to look at this data and find out what the differences are in measurable terms. We do this by taking the unstructured PDF reports and search and analyze them to give metrics to measure differences against. This allows us to get information from the reports that traditionally would have taken a huge amount of manual work and data entry to even get close to. This example is on a fairly small scale but the same technology works just as well when its scaled up.
IMPLEMENTING A CHANGE
There are lots of reasons to need to implement a change in your organisation. You could be fixing a problem you have identified, a new CEO might be implementing their new strategy etc. In order to implement a change, you need to create an adoption plan. For smaller companies, this is often much easier. In a large organisation, this can be very challenging mainly due to the complexity of lines of communication throughout an organisation.
Left - Information flow originating from management
Right - Information flow originating from infulencers
Every company will have some form of structure and traditionally information would flow through that exact structure but now we know that isn't the case. In every organisation there will be people that other staff turn to for advice or information. These people are the ones that carry real influence, these are the people that can really effect change. So, how do you find them? Well, we have a network analysis tool designed just for that. Orgmapper | Influence uses a short online survey to build a map of how your organisation really communicates, who your key influencers are and recommendations on how to deploy those influencers to create the most effective adoption plan as well as lots of other useful insights.
Once you know who to use to implement your changes in the most effective way, you can begin the process of implementing those changes and tracking your progress against clearly defined goals. It’s crucial to test whether or not your plan is actually working because if your plan isn't working you can always adapt it based on feedback.
Political candidates often differ in many ways. But, that’s a dramatic understatement when the candidates happen to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump!
Among their myriad differences, the particular one I see is the extreme contrast in the styles of thinking and deciding of Trump and Clinton.
Most of my professional life has revolved around the study of executives’ decision styles. I focus on decision making simply because almost everything we all do revolves, in one way or another, around decisions, large and small, simple and complex. Consequently, decision-making is a major factor that contributes to success – especially of executives and leaders.
Despite its centrality, different people often go about the process of making decisions in markedly different ways from one another. Some have a penchant for making decisions quickly, on the spot. Others mull things over often at length before deciding. Some stick tenaciously to a course of action once a decision has been made. Others modify plans frequently after an initial decision has been taken, especially as things evolve.
A particular peculiarity of styles of decision-making is that the styles of most people differ in how they make decisions in public and private. How a person first appears as a decision maker and in meetings where a lot of others are present often differs – sometimes sharply – from the way they decide when alone or when working with just a few familiar associates. My colleagues and I call one’s public style, “role style,” and we contrast role styles with a person’s more private, “operating style.” (See the sidebar for an overview of the different decision styles.)
In a political campaign, there usually are a lot of other people around. So, what we see mostly are the candidates’ role styles. Unfortunately, for the voting public, one thing we know for sure is this: a person’s role style tells you absolutely nothing about how a person behaves as a thinker and decision maker when in operating style. The person’s public and private styles might be the same, but our research says that most often those styles are different.
To get a real reading on how a candidate thinks takes some doing. One has to dig a little. But, without digging what most people see is a candidate’s public persona – the candidate’s role style.
So, let’s take a look at Donald Trump. Trump’s role style is one of the easiest ever to read. His followers make it very clear what they admire. We hear it all the time: “Trump says exactly he means!” He doesn’t mince words. His statements contain no ambiguity. They are plain and simple. His choice words is simple. Things are, “very, very good,” or “very, very bad!” He doesn’t “hem and haw” or get into a lot of data or information. He doesn’t lay out a lot considerations. He simply states his views.
This is a style that I call Decisive – it’s a style that comes across as direct, confident, matter of fact and, often, blunt. Complexities are avoided. Things either are, black or
white, good or bad. Moreover, the focus is on now, not the distant future, and not on vague possibilities or probabilities. The message isn’t subtle and it doesn’t require any mental gymnastics to understand. Once a decision is made, “that’s that!”
Trump’s public behaviour personifies the Decisive style. But, what about Donald Trump’s operating style? In his case, one doesn’t have to dig very far or very long to see clear indications that his operating style is quite different from his role style. Listening to him speak in public, one might think that he does exactly what he so clearly says. However, his record is different. In fact, a little digging shows that Donald Trump’s actually operating style is anything but Decisive. The man changes his mind – often dramatically. His position on policy issues, and even on Hillary Clinton, has shifted 180 degrees over time. So, has his position on issues such as abortion, or with which political party affiliation he claims. A short Google search will reveal plenty of evidence of this in short order and Trump’s own words. Here’s a good example showing Donald Trump switching positions from one extreme to another:
So, Donald Trump’s actual operating behaviour fits with a style that I call Flexible. In stark contrast to the Decisive style, the Flexible style is all about changing and adapting, often at a moment’s notice, to changing circumstances. Sometimes just a slight change can prompt a sharp turn of mind for a Flexible decision-maker. The only similarity between the Decisive and the Flexible styles is that neither spends a lot of time collecting and analyzing data and information. Decisions are made quickly – often very, very quickly! This isn’t necessarily an unusual style for a politician. But, in Donald Trump’s case, the contrast between his public, role style and his operating style is rather striking and, moreover, when he is in his Flexible mode he appears capable of shifting positions not just a little, but radically from one extreme to another.
Four Basic Styles of Decision Making
The styles differ (horizontally) in amount information and analysis and (vertically) in degree of focus on one plan and objective versus multiple objectives and propensity to modify plans and decisions.
Hillary Clinton’s style profile is a more difficult to read. Ironically, this very fact often is a clue to a person’s style profile.
Many people feel that Hillary Clinton is inscrutable. For many, this fact leads to distrust and suspicion. It’s clear that she has an agenda, but many people wonder what it is and many imagine the worst.
One the surface, in public, Hillary Clinton comes across as a thinker, as someone who has given a lot of thought to the issues she talks about. Things aren’t just right or wrong. There are considerations to be taken into account. There’s a logic to consider. Ultimately, she states a point of view, though. She doesn’t just leave things hanging. But, one has to listen a bit more carefully to her to grasp her position that is required to understand her opponent’s position (at least in the moment).
In my view, Clinton’s role style falls into the category that we call Hierarchic. The Hierarchic style is an analytic and logical style. A Hierarchic thinker comes across as thoughtful and thorough and, ultimately, as having very firm opinions and points of view. Usually when people with this role style speak, they want to be seen as someone who is knowledgeable and experienced and who has thought things through and come to a very considered opinion. One does not just blurt out one’s position.
So, Clinton’s public behaviour best fits the Hierarchic style. But, there nonetheless is this matter of her being difficult to read. In my work with executives, I have found that those
who are difficult to read often truly are highly analytic in their thinking. They spend a lot of time thinking and mulling things over, kind of building a picture of whatever it is they are thinking about in their mind’s eye. Consequently, what may have originally appeared vague eventually becomes clear or even obvious – in the thinker’s mind. What the thinker may not recognize is that nothing about what they’ve been thinking is clear or obvious in the minds of others who haven’t been in the thinker’s mind with her or him when all the thinking is going on.
Now the conundrum becomes this: how to convey one’s thinking to others. The picture could be very complex and not something that can be described in just a few simple words. So, one may become rather “strategic” in expressing one’s thoughts to others. One lays out just enough of a plan to various parties that can be understood and accepted. Putting forth the whole picture in all its complexity might only confuse and dissuade. So, one must proceed cautiously. For a political candidate, this can be tricky territory to navigate and not one where simple, straight talk will win a lot of supporters.
The kind of thinking and decision-making I’m describing here falls into a category we call Systemic. It’s a hybrid combination of the two more analytic styles we call Integrative and Hierarchic. I believe that this is Hillary Clinton’s actual operating style. She is analytic and strategic in how she goes about getting things done. She has an agenda, for sure. But, it’s not an agenda that can be described simply and easily. By her own admission, she said that she sometimes expresses different ideas and viewpoints to different parties in the process of getting things done as, she said, also did an admired leader in the past: Abraham Lincoln. But, this is not a style that’s easy to understand and trust unless you know the thinker very well.
Stepping back, we can conclude, “What you see is what you get,” is not what you get in Donald Trump nor in Hillary Clinton, but for very different reasons. Nonetheless, here is what we can expect if either is elected:
With Donald Trump, we can expect sudden decisions and reversals of earlier positions based on immediate events and circumstances. Policy will mean little. The moment will rule.
With Hillary Clinton, we can expect decisions and policies to matter but to become clear only over relatively long periods of time. Public statements are likely to paint only part of the picture. Sudden shifts in direction will take place only due to important and unanticipated immediate circumstances. To really understand what’s going on and what the ultimate objectives (plural, because there will be many), one will have to piece together a slowly evolving picture.
Neither of these portraits are likely to have widespread, mass appeal. But, a choice will be made. Which one would you vote for?
A Guest Post by
Kenneth R. Brousseau, Ph.D.
Decision Dynamics LLC
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